This blog is our community project for the Global Climate Change class at SJSU. Over the past year, my group and I have become experts on climate change and we want to share the knowledge that we have learned with you. This blog is designed to give you accurate information about climate change, in a comfortable environment where you are able to become an active participant in the discussion about climate change. Previous literature has shown that people who possess accurate knowledge about climate change; people are more likely to make informed decisions in their daily life (Kahlor & Rosenthal, 2009). We hope that with this information has been helpful and will continue to be helpful, and we invite your feedback. Thank you for visiting our blog and continue to check back for information.
Although there are many factors that influence the climate, one of the most significant is the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect refers to the warming that occurs as a result of greenhouse gasses (GHG) trapping energy in the atmosphere. An underlying principal of the greenhouse effect is that all objects radiate heart to some degree. Now with that in mind, check this out, so the sun is our primary heat source and it radiates energy (i.e. heat) which passes through the Earth’s atmosphere and warms the earth’s surface. As the surface of the earth warms up it also emits energy in the form of radiation ie heat. If greenhouse gases did not exist in our atmosphere, all of that energy would be emitted back into space and temperatures on Earth would plummet well below freezing. However, our planet maintains reasonably balanced temperatures thanks to the presence of greenhouse gases. These gases trap some of the energy that radiates from the earth’s surface so that it can warm our atmosphere. So you see we need a greenhouse effect; without it earth would be uninhabitable…. However, any fluctuation in the concentrations of these gases would either warm or cool the planet . So, what we are experiencing now is that the concentration of greenhouses gases has increased and so more heat is being trapped and ultimately temperatures are increasing. Greenhouse gases, including CO2, H2O, nitrous oxide, methane and ozone, are generated by a number of natural and man-made processes. Energy production and deforestation are some of the most notable anthropogenic sources of greenhouses gases. In nature they are generated through the carbon cycles in which humans, animals and a number of microorganisms produce these gases. From this very basic knowledge we can simply conclude that greenhouse gases are emitted by a large number of entities and our mission is to work on reducing these emissions as much as possible beacuse althought they occur naturally a greater percentage of greenhouse gases is generated by human factors. Here is where you can play a crucial role! For instances, energy production results in production of GHGs, one simple measure you can take is to reduce your energy consumption so instead of facebooking, talking on the phone, watching TV and blow-drying your hair all at the sametime(I do not know how this possible) take easy and cut down on electricity usage while giving your brain a little break from all that at the same time. JUST a thought!
Learn more on how you can reduce your emissions… check out some of the posts under climate change mitigation, which is a fancy word for reducing climate change
Earth Day by Eugene Cordero (Associate Professor, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science. San Jose State University)
Yesterday was Earth Day and a big day on campus at SJSU. Two of the highlights, at least for me, were the Earth Day Faire on the 7th Street Plaza and the keynote talk by San Jose Mayor, Chuck Reed. I’ve been to the Earth Day Faire for many years, and it’s always fun and inspiring to see what’s new and green. But this year there seemed to be more student groups at the event, and it’s making me think that there really is a student movement going on. Even though the Earth Day Faire is organized by the student-run Environmental Resource Center, exhibitors in previous years have been mostly from different off-campus organizations. And while many of them were there again this year, so were our students. It seemed that every other booth was a student group, saying no to bottled water or saying yes to solar hot water — good stuff.
The other event that I really enjoyed was Mayor Reed’s keynote speech in the Engineering Auditorium. Although I’m very familiar with San Jose’s Green Vision (http://www.sanjoseca.gov/greenvision/), I’ve not heard the mayor speak on this topic before. What surprised me about his speech was the big shout-out he gave to SJSU and our students. He reminded us that our graduates drive Silicon Valley, and that solutions to global warming are going to come from the same valley that ‘invented’ the silicon chip and the Internet. OK, we’ll take some credit for that! We also heard a lot about SJ’s Green Vision, which in my mind is a very ambitious plan to make San Jose one of the greenest tech-oriented places in the world. Impressive, sure. But what I really like is their approach. For each of the 10 Green Vision goals, they show regular updates of how they are doing in this 15-year plan. For example, Goal # 1: create 25,000 clean-tech jobs — they are currently 16% of the way to that goal. While other goals (plant 100,000 trees; become zero waste, using 100% renewable energy for electricity) have also shown good progress, the goal I’m interested in the most is the plan to cut per capita electricity use by 50%. At present, they’ve only made a little progress (0.9%) toward this goal. The mayor spoke about a solar-panel program where the city will help finance homeowners to put solar on their roofs, which is a great start. However, I’m thinking that to reach that goal, we are going to have to see some real change in behavior. As we know, behavior change is not easy, and I don’t think a Web site is going to really impact the 1,000,000 residents of San Jose. To get the 50% reduction in electricity use, we are going to have to change the habits of every household. This is a big ask, and I don’t think it will happen unless you have people visiting every home and helping residents make these changes. At present, the city doesn’t have the resources to drive this level of change, but I have an idea. What if some of our 30,000 students at SJSU were to be deployed to help make San Jose a green city? What if part of our first-year experience had a community-action component, where students give workshops, visit homes, and encourage and inspire changes in the communities they live. We probably have the numbers to make a difference and we certainly have the ability to make this happen. Seems like a good match for a city with an ambitious Green Vision and a university with a Sustainability Plan to get together and change the world.
Climate change or global warming?! We often hear both terms in public discourse without any distinction between the two and so many people are confused as to what the difference between the two is. One way to look at it is that climate change, as described in the previous post, is simply the long-term changes in weather patterns. This change can either be towards a warmer climate, where the average temperatures increase or towards a cooler climate, where we notice a decrease in the average temperatures. So, in a broad sense any change in climate can fall in the category of “climate change”. What we anticipate in the future, and to a certain degree now, is an increase in the global temperatures thus making our climate warmer and hence the name global warming!
If you’re thinking about eating out, why not choose a green restaurant today in celebration of Earth Day. According to the Bay Area Green Business Program, these local businesses are considered green because they changed their business practices in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Like Bella Mia, each restaurant on this list is helping to “prevent pollution, minimize waste, and conserve energy, water, and other resources” (http://www.greenbiz.ca.gov/ShopGreen.html). Their choice to become a green restaurant was an active step towards the mitigation of climate change.
Celebrate Earth Day by showing them your support.
|Bella Mia||58 S. First Street||408/280-1993|
|Chacho’s||18 S. Almaden Avenue||408/293-1387|
|Chow Ciao Café||20 N. Almaden Avenue||408/292-7096|
|Gordon Biersch||33 E. San Fernando Street||408/294-6785|
|Guckenheimer @ BD Bio 2 Qume||2222 Qume Drive||408/954-2534|
|Guckenheimer @ Altera||101 Innovation Drive, Bldg. 3||650/631-5187|
|Guckenheimer @ Baytech Bistro||150 Baytech Dr.||408/935-3416|
|International Vegetarian House||520 E. Santa Clara St.||408/292-3798|
|La Taqueria||15 S. First Street||408/287-1542|
|Laurel’s Delights||60 N. First Street||408/292-5211|
|Moorpark Park Bar & Grill||4241 Moorpark Ave.||408/846-0361|